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Why is now the time for lenders to modernize their appraisal processes

With tech solutions and automation dominating more and more of the mortgage experience, the appraisal process can feel a bit dated, often causing significant slowdowns. HousingWire recently spoke with Erin Reed, vice president of originations, valuations and operations at ServiceLink about approaching appraisal modernization in an innovative way while addressing logistical challenges along the way. 

HousingWire: Why should lenders consider appraisal modernization and how can it benefit borrowers?

appraisal

Erin Reed: Lenders are looking for a solution that improves the overall cycle time while maintaining the quality of a traditional appraisal report. It becomes even more important in a highly competitive lending environment, as everyone is trying to give borrowers the fastest and best experience while maintaining process integrity. Borrowers have lots of options and high expectations for service in today’s market — leveraging these new options is one way for lenders to set themselves apart.

Providing appraisers with more product options designed to increase efficiency helps to create more capacity, which will become essential when volumes increase again. Tasks like scheduling, property inspection and driving comps adds a great deal of time to the process. 

Appraisal modernization assists with those tasks to create additional market capacity. 

Appraisal modernization will help to absorb fluctuations and volume within the market and maintain a set of standards beyond what we’ve been able to do historically. In today’s market, borrowers increasingly expect a digital experience built for efficiency, transparency and accessibility.

HW: What are some of the biggest challenges to implementing modern appraisal solutions?

Logistics and adoption are two main hurdles commonly discussed amongst industry participants. First, we need to ensure that property inspections are completed quickly and thoroughly and that the data is presented to the appraiser in an efficient manner. 

More importantly, appraiser adoption is critical to ensure the appraisers are comfortable with these new processes. Transparency regarding the data sources will be key to making sure that the product is accepted in the market – not just by the lenders and the consumers, but also by the appraiser community itself. 

At ServiceLink, we partner closely with our appraiser panel to ensure they’re comfortable adapting to industry changes.

HW: How can appraisal modernization enhance the valuation process?

ER: Appraisal modernization will allow more appraisers to focus on what they do best: providing valuations. The need to schedule property visits and perform onsite inspections will now be supported by an alternative workforce. This optimization is expected to make appraisers even more efficient by eliminating the time associated with administrative tasks like scheduling and performing the onsite inspection itself. 

In addition, the data collection process has been standardized, so the same set of details are collected for each property. These consistent results will help all constituents across the lending spectrum with a number of functions. These factors should decrease overall turn time while maintaining the integrity of the appraisal process.

HW: What is ServiceLink doing to modernize the appraisal process for lenders?

ER: ServiceLink has offered hybrid appraisals for almost 15 years. This affords us the opportunity to leverage our existing infrastructure to continue this evolution through modernization. 

In addition, ServiceLink’s industry-leading platforms, technology and workflows have been leveraged to manage the modernization workflow seamlessly. ServiceLink has not just been looking forward to modernization; we’ve been involved in its evolution. 

We’re looking forward to pushing appraisal modernization beyond the requirements set forth by GSEs and continue to focus on digitizing previously manual touchpoints of the process.

To learn more about what ServiceLink is doing to modernize the appraisal process for lenders, visit svclnk.com.

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